Published: 19th April 2018
Amrut Deshmukh's booklet app lets you read a book in 20 minutes
Amrut Deshmukh summarises one bestselling book a week and uploads it on his app called Booklet
The bookshelf proudly adorned the posh living room. It was made of ebony, perfectly polished, with every book stacked and catalogued with precision. Guests envied the owner for the way he managed to maintain a collection this huge. They wondered if he'd let them borrow his prized possessions. But amidst all this, the books had a different story to tell; the tragedy of how they were ignored and how the stories that lay within their pages remained unheard. In the millennial language, an Instagram story is the only one they care for.
Now, dear readers, try recalling the last time you picked up a book to read. (Avid readers, this question isn't for you.) It's been a long time, hasn't it? But that okay, you're not the only one. Amrut Deshmukh, a 34-year-old chartered accountant was just like you. But now, he reads a bestseller every week, summarises it and sends it to people, through his free mobile app, Booklet. He adds a new book to the app every Wednesday.
"All of these are really short 20-minute-long summaries. And on the off chance that that is too much as well, I can even send you voice clips of these summaries, in Hindi and in English," says the guy who is on a 'Make India Read' mission. A year and a half since its launch, more than six lakh people are a part of this initiative.
Avid reader: Amrut has read more than 1000 books until now
"Booklet started out as a WhatsApp group. But after I got more than one lakh contacts, I launched the app," says Amrut, who is also working on techniques to make reading as addictive as social media. So, where and how did it all begin? Amrut and a friend had once gone to the theatre to watch Baahubali. Having arrived earlier than expected, just to kill time, Amrut started narrating, to his friend, the summary of a book that he had been reading at the time. "He was so impressed by my narration that he asked me if I could send summaries of the books I read to him through WhatsApp. I found that idea very exciting," says Amrut.
A week later, Amrut shared his first summary, which was of Agni Ki Udaan, an autobiography by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, to ten of his contacts. At the end of the message, he added his phone number too. The summary circulated widely and a week later, 1,000 unknown people messaged Amrut, asking him for more summaries. "Since then, not a single week has gone by without the release of a summary. I take two to three days to read a book and the rest to summarise and proofread it," explains Amrut.
Now, I'm not reading for myself, but I'm reading for India. So, I read almost everything and I'm more motivated
Amrut Deshmukh, founder, Booklet
Since the primary motive of the app is to make people read, Amrut was worried that his readers would only read the summary and be content with that. But it turns out, many of them felt encouraged to buy the books after reading the summary. He has also been approached by publishers and authors, asking him to summarise their books.
Booklet is now an indispensable part of Amrut's life; so indispensable that he quit his day job to do this. "I'm on a mission and I'm pretty hopeful that one day, young people will discuss books every day. And that day isn't far away," he concludes.